Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last year the cold weather brought an invasion of Redwings, this year it's Fieldfares: they seem to be everywhere. Apparently they are often found around the Tundra, so that's pretty appropriate with the weather this year ( it's been hovering around -4 degrees centigrade today in spite of the sunshine. ) There are also loads of Snipe, and some Waxwings in Tralee. The bird feeder is attracting lots of Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Robins, Goldfinches, Pied Wagtails and Chaffinches - oh yes, and Sparks, the cat...Luckily the birds seem smarter than him, and the closest he has got is a small mouthful of tail feathers.

Thanks to Garry and Suzanne for a lovely get together yesterday, fantastic food as ever. They also popped up with Maisie and Edie today for a spot of sledging, and a walk over the mountain. Caitlin opened one of her Christmas presents early - a skiing jacket and trousers - she was delighted, and warm, so thanks to the Grandparents for that!

Where the water percolates through the peat bog, there is always a display of huge icicles, all formed around strands of grass and peat. The girls all think they are the best ice lollies!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Welcome again from the snowy mountains! The cold weather has returned, but unfortunately I haven't had a chance to get the old snowboard out ( yet! ) The cold weather doesn't seem to suit the ducks too much - they've stopped laying, and they look none too happy. Rachel had a laugh when putting them away tonight, as one took off into to the wind downhill and succeeded in flying over the hedge ( about 12 foot ! ) They were both most impressed with this feat....
I had to go to Dingle yesterday morning, with the road covered with a few inches of snow all the way. Dingle looked lovely surrounded by snow covered mountains, especially when the sun came out.

Now it's time to settle in front of the fire with a nice glass of mulled wine....

Monday, December 6, 2010

The other thing I forgot to mention from yesterday is that we picked up our new Bantam Cockerel yesterday. The photo is a bit blurred as he's turned out to be an elusive little beast, and kept running away every time I got near him. He also likes to have a bit of a wander as we found him in the field over the road, and spent twenty minutes trying to chase him back to our place! Luckily he seems to have settled a bit today and is keeping our other hen company.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What started out as a quiet Sunday ended up being quite busy - a trip to Dingle Aquarium first, where we met Suzanne, Gary, Maisie and Edie. This was actually the first time I'd had a look around, and it's really good place to visit. The girls have been lots of times before, and love to see the sharks, although Caitlin wasn't too keen to hold one of the big Starfishes when we had a look at the Touch Tank! The Rays actually stick their heads out of the water and are quite happy for you to touch them.

We then had a walk around the Marina in the sunshine, and then on up to the opening of The Little Cheese Shop in Gray's Lane. There's a great selection of cheese including Maja's own local Dingle Peninsula cheeses, also Oliviers smoked meats and fish, and loads of other interesting delicacies: well worth a visit. Good luck in the new shop!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

After the excitement earlier this year of Snowboarding in Kerry, we really weren't expecting to get heavy snow for a good while....however....Andy phoned this morning to see if I was up for heading out, so we took his trusty Landrover to the top of the Conor Pass, and started to hike.
As you can see the weather was bright and sunny, but very cold, and the snow was actually pretty good - maybe 8 inches of fluffy powder at the top. There were fantastic views over Brandon Bay and Dingle, and we had the place to ourselves until late in the afternoon, when we saw a couple of hardy hikers. We managed a good few runs, and have our fingers crossed for a little more snow!
The Conor Pass road has signs up saying its closed, but with the help of four wheel drive we made it down - it did look pretty serious though....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Had a bit of a surprise this morning when we drew the blinds and found the mountains covered with snow! The weather turned out to be really bright and sunny, but with a cold wind, and Caitlin and I rushed out first thing to build a snowman - she couldn't wait to get out there. The mountains looked absolutely beautiful.
There was a good gathering of local windsurfers, family and friends at Gowlane later in the day to commemorate the passing of our good mate Fintan, who was so sadly lost last year. An engraved stone has been placed at Gowlane as it was his favorite place to sail, and friend Graham said a few heartfelt words. It will stand as a reminder of his passion and enthusiasm.
I then managed to do a little more work with David on their polytunnel, and had a brief look at some of his oil paintings of the local area: you can see some examples on his website - I must take some more time to take a closer look when I see him next.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A good day today: I went to help David put up his new polytunnel, and ended up coming home with about eighteen Autumn Raspberry Canes, and twenty five Alpine Strawberry plants. Apparently the Raspberries are prolific, with fruit between August and the start of November ( actually there was one still trying to ripen and it tasted pretty good! ) They've been planted already....
Good luck to Phil Edwards who has just started as Chef at Ashes in Camp: a couple of guests went up this week and said the food was very good - we must get down there soon!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rachel is now really back into the horseriding after the broken thumb - an hours lesson at the Equestrian Centre on Flame and she was buzzing!! The horse is very keen, and jumps well, so I don't think I'll be seeing Rachel quite as much now......Congratulations to Paidraig and Nicola on the arrival of Eddie as well.

Good fun this week down on Manna's Organic Farm: the pigs and chickens have been in the polytunnel that had tomatos in it, and what a fantastic job of digging the place they have done! It only took Tomas and I a few hours and the place was cleared of stones and roots, and we had new beds ready for planting winter lettuce. Great work by those animals! Unfortunately the big rip in our tunnel is even bigger now, so Rachel had a good clear out of anything left growing, and we'll have to re-cover it. Mind you, she did get about 25 bunches of grapes, so we could be preparing Moan Laur's first ever vintage....

One other snippet of news is that there may be a cycle track from Tralee to Dingle coming before too long, which will pass right by our door - will keep you posted.

Monday, November 1, 2010

It seems that Halloween rolls around so quickly! It gets really busy with all the kids parties, so Caitlin has had a great time. We went off to Les and Paulines for another great Halloween bash, with Rachel dressed as a horny little devil, and me as a Druid/Pagan/Wizard/Shepherd - take your pick! Caitlin looks all sweet and angelic, dressed as a Princess next to her slightly odd parents....
It's been pretty wild and windy apart from the weekend and unfortunately the polytunnel has developed a large picture window! We were hoping the plastic would last for another month or so, but it's been on for about six years so I suppose that's pretty good. Rachel has now completed her Master Composters course so is now ready to unleash all that knowledge on the unsuspecting population of Camp. One very interesting fact from the course is that about one third of the material that goes into black bins nationally is organic waste - not good!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Much to catch up on again. First and foremost, Rachel has had the cast taken off, and is now in a soft cast/splint, which she can take off from time to time, and she can drive!! Hooray! This has to stay on for a few more weeks, but she even managed a quick trot around on the horse today ( so it can't be too bad....) Thanks to everyone that helped out driving her around, and picking up Caitlin from school.

Lots of tidying up in the garden has been done - thanks to Thomas for delivering a huge trailer load of seaweed, which has been spread on the beds not being used. We're still getting Pumpkins, Tomatos, Courgettes, Runner Beans, Chili Peppers, Grapes and Spinach from the garden and tunnel, and were delighted to get some Figs for the first time. We weren't so delighted with the taste though - no flavour! Maybe next year they'll be better. I made a few jars of chutney with all the excess vegetables, so that will be ready in a few weeks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hmm, some good bits to report, and some not so good! Rachel had a great birthday last week: we had a nice meal at the Blue Zone in Dingle, before she went off for a horse ride in the evening. Unfortunately this resulted in a broken thumb when she had a heavy landing after a HEE-UGE jump. Even more unfortunately she has a cast from her thumb almost all the way to her elbow for the next four weeks, so cannot drive. Mr. Smith will be assuming taxi driving duties....
She did manage to get out for dinner at Laura's, with Suzanne, and then had a lovely day at the spa at the Aghadoe Heights Hotel in Killarney, being spoilt rotten, with Corinne, Laura, and Carina. The girls all highly recommend this!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September is upon us, and Caitlin has now spent three days at primary school in Aughacasla! It's still difficult to find out exactly what she's been up to, but she seems to be enjoying it. I guess that we'll have the same trouble getting to know what's going on for the next few years...She did have to take all her books in on the first day: her school bag was so full we thought she'd topple over. She was, however, much more excited by the fact she lost her first baby tooth, no fuss or bother, and was fascinated with how the Tooth Fairy had sneaked into her room and taken the tooth away. Many questions were asked.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

With a bit of work the vegetable garden is now tidy ( a rarity! ) and the polytunnel is looking good too, with some nice pumpkins and grapes on the way: the tomatos are good too. Big day tomorrow as it's Caitlin's first day of school, so updates to follow....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another couple of lovely days in Kerry: it often seems to be really nice at the end of August and into September. We've been busy picking Blackberries and having them with pancakes and Greek yoghurt - delicious! Need to get some more for jam now, and there's also a good few Sloes on the trees. They're not quite ripe yet, but maybe ready for some Sloe Gin soon.
We also have a Facebook page now, so look out for quick updates there too...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thanks to Andy McKinney for some nice comments in his blog in Windsurfing magazine, sounds like they enjoyed the rest of their visit too, and also to Aimee for her review on Tripadvisor.

I popped in to see Liam and Eunice again today, to make sure their chickens were still OK. This time there had been a huge commotion in the chicken house, and the hawk was actually found inside! Liam got it out ( with the aid of some thick gloves ) and sent pictures off to who confirmed that it was a juvenile female Sparrowhawk, not a Kestrel after all. Never a dull moment around here...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I forgot to add that we've decided to drop our prices for Autumn and Winter to 25 euros per person sharing and 30 for a single room - there's an enquiry form at
This includes breakfast - juice, organic tea or coffee, cereals, fresh fruit and yoghurts, then your choice of award winning Anascaul sausages, bacon and pudding, our own organic Duck or chicken eggs, cooked as you like, fresh tomatos from the polytunnel, home made potato cakes or fried potatos, mushrooms, with toast, jam and marmalade to finish. Of course, you don't have to eat all of that if you don't want to!

Wow, there's been so much going on lately I haven't had a chance to catch up on the blog, so here goes!! We were all sad to see Markus and Kerstin leave, but they had a great stay, and the weather was good for them. We must go and see them in Idar Oberstein soon. The best B&B story for a while has to be from Laura and Tim from the US - Laura managed to walk nearly the whole way from Tralee on the Dingle Way with her boots held together with rubber bands and a hair band after the soles parted company with the top parts - well done!
The cats, Mackerel and Sparks, are doing well, and are now being let outside after having their shots, although Mac decided to go walkabout the night before last, and turned up at about ten in the morning, miaowing loudly and looking pretty bedraggled. He didn't go out last night....
The big news is that Rachel and Corinne have a horse, Flame, at the Tralee Equestrian Centre. This is on a trial basis for a month, but somehow I don't see them wanting to give her up! Even Caitlin had a little trip around the arena on her.
We've also had a few incidents with the wildlife round here, with a mink going after the chickens at Manna's farm ( now captured ! ) and then when I went round to see Liam and Eunice and their new bantams, the local Kestrel decided that one looked like lunch, and proceeded to swoop down and catch hold of the poor little fella! Luckily we managed to chase it off, and no harm was done - the joys of living in the country.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can't believe it's August already! The next week looks good on the weather front, and we're looking forward to seeing Markus and Kerstin tomorrow - on their honeymoon for this trip, congratulations! Also congratulations to Andy and Anne McKinney who came to stay on their honeymoon, all the way from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. This looks like a really interesting place to visit if you're into your watersports: Andy has a windsurfing shop out there, and also has a great blog keeping you up to date with all that's going on. Will definitely try and arrange a trip! Unfortunately no wind or swell for their visit, but we still enjoyed a couple of beers in Ashes pub...

The kittens are still going crazy - little Sparks seems to enjoy sitting on Jess's shoulder, and
Caitlin is still enjoying the horse riding, she's now doing a rising trot!!

I missed out on a mad night out at the weekend for Garry and Suzanne's Murder Mystery Party as I was feeling under the weather, but Rachel ( or should I say Mousy Tung ) had a great time, although no-one suspected the Vicar!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I did forget to mention that after over two years of having a pair of goldfish, Rachel splashed out on a fancy new Biube tank, very nice too. After a couple of weeks she put in some decorative grass, and overnight one fish decided to lay hundreds of eggs on the grass! She must have been saving them up over all that time, but they have decided to eat them all since then. We were wondering what to do with all the fish....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tsk, tsk, I've been very slack at updating the blog lately...We've had the big excitement of Caitlins 5th birthday: she had a great party with her best friends ( and ours as well! ) This does mean that school is looming in September, so a visit to the shops for school uniform was in order, she'slooking very grown up these days. She's also been enjoying horse riding lessons at the Equestrian Centre in Blennerville - could be an expensive pastime! We have acquired two kittens, Mackerel and Sparks, as our old cat, Samson, sadly went missing a few weeks ago. They are keeping everyone entertained, so far not too much of the house has been destroyed! We've also had a good number of walkers in doing the Dingle Way, it seems more popular this year than ever, especially with the Dutch - they're always good fun!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We've just returned from a fabulous long weekend in Plymouth for Rachels cousins Marks wedding to Sarah. This is the main thing Caitlin has been talking about for the last few weeks, she'd even stopped talking about her birthday! She had been bought a lovely dress and shoes, and insisted on having her hair in ringlets, just like her latest best friend, Leanne! Rachel looked lovely as well, as you can see in the photo. The wedding was at Kitley House near Yealmpton, and was a great setting: lovely grounds and 500 year old restored country house - the weather was absolutely perfect too. Mark and Sarah looked gorgeous, and everyone had a fantastic day, with a lot of us staying overnight - very relaxing. Caitlin shadowed Leanne everywhere, and was delighted to present the bride and groom with their wedding certificate. It was great to see all the family; Mike and Sue really looked after us, and we met up with great granny and grandad Doreen and Jim on Plymouth Hoe, where the Armed Forces Day was going on, and also bumped into Auntie Doreen and Uncle Reg - Caitlin even got to sit in the cab of a fire engine ( so now she wants to be a firefighter when she grows up. ) We took a short boat trip across the water, watched the powerboat races, and saw the flyby of a Spitfire. We'd flown into Luton and then hired a car: on the way home the temperature hit thirty degrees, and then we were greeted by rain when we got to Kerry Airport - lovely!! We really did need it, and it was quite a relief after sitting on the M25 ( ugh! )
The only bad news is that our lovely Rooster, Marley, has disappeared, leaving only a few black feathers in the field. Number one suspect is a fox, but we're still hoping that our hen that went missing is still sitting on some eggs somewhere.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A couple of cracking days here, beautiful Summer days without a cloud in the sky. Yesterday there were Northerly breezes, and with the clear skies it meant a good day for windsurfing at Inch - a great session with just Mark and one other guy, who we didn't recognise, for company. Lovely waves, sun and clear water ( although the broken mast took the edge off things a bit! ) Down to Camp Strand with the girls today, with hardly anyone there, and Caitlin and I even managed to persuade Rachel into the water, even if it was only up to her knees. The odd shower last week, followed by all the sun means we have lots of produce in the garden - strawberries, cabbage, spinach, cauliflowers, brocolli, and lettuce, with broad beans, peas, currants, and courgettes on their way.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another good week with a couple of days helping on Manna's farm: now they have two sheepdogs and two fine piglets to add to the collection. They're going to breed the pigs, so we have our name down for a couple when they're ready ( next year probably. ) We'll have to get a house and fencing done for them, but plenty of time for that. We will also plant a few more trees in the field for shelter and shade. Thomas also gave us some wheat grass to try - apparently a good way of taking it is to juice a lemon first and swill that around first and then to take the grass. Rachels face was a picture, but she did have lots of energy for the rest of the day!
Managed to get a quick windsurf in on Friday at Dumps, light winds, and small waves but good to be on the water in the sun. Ryan's Juice bar on the beach is doing well, it all adds to the atmosphere. Had a lovely time yesterday with Rachel and Caitlin down on the beach at Scraggane at low tide, and then stopped by to visit Rob at his place overlooking the beach for a cuppa: it's a lovely spot looking out across the bay to the islands, and watching people come and go in their boats.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two surprises today - firstly nine duck eggs, so every duck, even old Billy, would seem to be laying, and then I walked into the polytunnel to find a young hare hopping around!! Not sure that will be good for the veggies....
Had a nice walk up the mountain to check on our water tank, lovely views all the way from Fenit and Kerry Head, along to the Maharees and down the valley towards Anascaul. The picture is another impressionistic one from my old mobile. There are some nice orchids up on the mountain, and even relics of trees from many years ago.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fair play to Rachel for climbing up Caherconree on Saturday! All for the kids with Battens disease as well. The views were amazing, from the Maharees to McGillicuddys Reeks, and our friend Pauline reckoned you could see all the way to Caragh Lake towards Killorglin. The weather was great too, and was perfect for Lydia's Birthday Barbeque on the beach. Caitlin was the last little one to go, and I think she would have happily stayed running around on the beach all night...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

After some welcome rain a couple of days ago it's now back to lovely weather: on Thursday evening at 7 pm it was around 23 degrees! The weather was also good for Padma's birthday barbeque on the beach - a great time was had by all, and Caitlin was delighted to win the pin the tail on the donkey competition! Happy birthday to Padma.
I was back helping out at Manna's farm this week, lots of planting done, and fun moving the goslings into their new run. This was a bit of a riot, but good fun, and they're happy out in the long grass and trees. Rachel is off on a charity hike up Caherconree in a minute, and then it's off to another beach BBQ tomorrow for Lydia's birthday. Happy days.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

At last I've managed to put Caitlins swing and slide set together - Molly came round the other day and the two of them spent the whole afternoon playing outside ( no mention of telly at all!! ) The picture is not the finished version, so its actually a bit bigger. Nice to have Graham and Shirley over for a few days, good weather for them as well, with nice trips out to Dingle, all around the peninsula and to Cork for the day. We also had a great meal down at Sammys on Inch beach last night - a really calm evening with beautiful views. Our rooster has settled in well, and has been named Marley, and talking of birds, we've also been helping out down at Manna's farm: great to see all the ducks and goslings being let out and enjoying the outdoor life. The gosling are real characters, not scared of you at all, and getting bigger every time you see them.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Here's the latest addition to the flock, a fine bird. He's settled in very well, and has been quite friendly with our chickens already ( know what I mean! ) At the moment he seems to be crowing now and then , but not too loudly - we'll see what happens in the morning...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Busy as ever so no updates for a while. Had a good day on Sunday with a trip to the Aquadome in Tralee, our first visit there. It's not cheap, but it was great fun: they have a pool with waves, rivers, slides, spouts and jacuzzis, also a sauna and steam room. Caitlin loved it and was swimming around all the place, and even went on the big flume with Rachel - not sure who was most excited ( or was it scared! )

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's the season for all the small farm animals: we have a few lambs in our field and I've been helping out with a bit of cattle farming today. The weather has been fantastic as well, so everyone is happy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wow, Caitlin has been very lucky to have been given a trampoline by Anne and Agatha - thankyou so much. We were expecting one that was a good size, but it's huge! We had a good old jump around on it yesterday, Caitlin was wearing her new Princess dress which has only been removed for bedtime for the last three days - I think she likes it...
Congratulations to Jeremy and Lucy on the birth of baby Kai. This sounds like another cool windsurfing name, to add to Huw and Emilie's Josh, could be future champions in the making!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I have a bit of catching up to do on the Blog, so here'a a bit of an update and some photo's. Caitlin was delighted to have a Pyjama Day at her preschool, all the kids seemed to enjoy it !

Then it was off to the beach - lovely and deserted!

Next came the crocodile outfit, thanks to Jago for the loan.

Now today we have had fun, because we have inherited Laura's tadpoles/frogs as they were starting to outgrow their jamjar, having grown to near maturity in a matter of days. This may have been due to Squinty's special Lamb and Lettuce leaf diet. This morning I was worried because it looked like one had escaped, but in fact he was near the top of the jar, ready in a bid for freedom. So, off to the pond this morning, where they are now happily swimming around.

The garden is looking good, with some nice Daffodils and Primroses out in the sun.

But, the last shot was taken just five minutes after the ones above it, and now its bright sunshine again - lovely County Kerry!